All-Purpose Allergy-Safe Vegetable Broth

vegetable broth
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Nutrition Highlights (per serving)

Calories 293
Fat 27g
Carbs 13g
Protein 1g
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 1 pot (about 16 cups stock)
Amount per serving  
Calories 293
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 27g 35%
Saturated Fat 4g 20%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 91mg 4%
Total Carbohydrate 13g 5%
Dietary Fiber 5g 18%
Total Sugars 5g  
Includes 0g Added Sugars 0%
Protein 1g  
Vitamin D 0mcg 0%
Calcium 47mg 4%
Iron 1mg 6%
Potassium 365mg 8%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calorie a day is used for general nutrition advice.
Total Time 60 min
Prep 10 min, Cook 50 min
Servings 1 pot (about 16 cups stock)

Packaged vegetable broths are less likely to be allergy-friendly than meat broths, especially for soy or onion allergies or for food additive sensitivities. This is because you can make a usable chicken or beef stock with bones, meat, water, and a bit of salt. Meat stocks rely on the gelatin from the bones to provide mouthfeel and flavor; vegetables, in contrast, require more work to coax out flavor, and many manufacturers add flavor enhancers in the form of yeast, MSG, or "hydrolyzed vegetable proteins." Luckily, you can make a great vegetable broth that's tailored for your own allergy needs and tastes.

Note that the nutrition info is an estimate for the entire pot of strained stock.


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 6 cups aromatic vegetables (a combination of carrots, onions, garlic, celery, celeriac, leeks, parsnips, or scallions)
  • 4 cups other vegetable trimmings (including chard stems, rutabaga, potato peels, zucchini, yellow squash, bean sprouts)
  • herbs (several sprigs parsley, 1 bay leaf, and any of thyme, marjoram, oregano, chervil)
  • 10 black peppercorns
  • 4 quarts water


  1. Prepare aromatic vegetables by peeling garlic and chopping all vegetables into coarse pieces, about one to one-and-a-half inches. (You don't need to peel vegetables for stock, but you do need to wash them.) Prepare vegetable trimmings by washing them and cutting them into one-and-a-half-inch pieces. If you have cheesecloth on hand, tie herbs and peppercorns together into a bouquet garni.
  2. In a large, heavy stockpot, heat oil over medium heat until shimmering. Add the aromatic vegetables and stir well to coat, then reduce heat to very low and cook vegetables, stirring frequently, for a few minutes.
  1. Add water and scrape any brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Add trimmings and raise heat to medium-low. Bring stock slowly to a boil. Add herbs and simmer. Simmer stock until you have about eight cups of liquid.
  2. Strain stock, mashing vegetables with the back of a spoon.

Ingredient Variations and Substitutions

The ingredients listed above are just suggestions. Any vegetable you like the flavor of is fair game for vegetable stock. Keep in mind, though, that mushroom gills will turn stock black (portobello mushrooms have a greater proportion of gills than other mushrooms) and that beets and tomatoes will turn stock red or pink.

I've also avoided vegetables like peppers, turnips, and brassicas (cauliflower, broccoli, and related vegetables) that have particularly strong flavors. You're certainly welcome to add them, and if you're planning on using the stock in a soup where these flavors would blend nicely, it would be a nice touch.

To increase the nutritional content of the soup (especially if you have a child who is particular about eating vegetables), consider adding sea vegetables like dulse or kombu.

Storing Vegetable Stock

A pot of lukewarm stock is a great medium for harmful bacteria to grow in, so be aware of food safety and store your stock properly:

  1. Your hot stock needs to cool as quickly as possible. The USDA cites a "danger zone" of 40F to 140F at which foods are at highest risk for bacterial contamination, so the goal is to minimize the amount of time your stock spends in that time zone. For this amount of stock, your two best options are to immediately divide the stock into four smaller containers and chill it in the refrigerator, or to fill your sink or another large container like a washtub or bathtub with ice water and surround the stockpot with ice water until the stock has chilled to about 40°. (The reason to not simply put the entire pot in the refrigerator is that the stock will take too long to cool, and it may heat up the items around it to boot).
  2. You can safely store stock in the refrigerator or in the freezer. Vegetable stock lasts for about a week in the refrigerator, or for about two months when frozen. Consider freezing some vegetable stock in very small containers or ice cube trays for use in recipes.

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